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Node Roundup: nchat, hulken, cult

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nchat (GitHub: irrationalistic/nchat, npm: nchat) by Chris Rolfs is a terminal-based chat application that uses WebSocket, which means it's easier to use on networks where IRC might be blocked.

Notifications are supported on Mac OS X, and the client can run as the server so you only need to install nchat itself. It supports a few IRC-style commands, like /users, and you can deploy it to hosting providers like Heroku.


Hulken (GitHub: hulken, License: MIT, npm: hulken) by Johan Hellgren is a stress testing tool for HTTP services. It can make GET and POST requests, and can be configured to send dynamic payloads.

You can use hulken as a command-line tool, or a Node module. The documentation includes all of the supported options, and you'll need to write an options.json file to use it on the command-line.


Cult (GitHub: typicode/cult, License: MIT, npm: cult) is a tool that monitors changes to a gulpfile and then reloads Gulp. You can run it on the command-line, and it uses the chalk library for pretty output. The readme has an example for supporting gulpfiles that are split across multiple files.


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Google's Web Starter Kit

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Web Starter Kit

Web Starter Kit (GitHub: google / web-starter-kit, License: Apache 2.0) from Google is a boilerplate for developing responsive websites. It supports multiple devices, has a gulp.js build script, and has support for synchronising pages across devices during testing.

If you're a Node developer, then you might like the gulp.js-based environment. Typing gulp will build and optimise the current project, and gulp serve will run a server. There's also gulp pagespeed that uses Google's PageSpeed insights.

The sync feature for testing is powered by BrowserSync. BrowserSync is a Socket.IO-based Node application that automatically sends changes to pages as you edit files. It also has a gulp.js module that you can use with your own projects.

If you're wondering why a Node/Ruby project has come out of Google, then take a look at the Web Starter Kit contributors: it seems like it's another project by Addy Osmani and Sindre Sorhus, just like Yeoman.

Although this is a boilerplate project, the style guide makes it look more like something like Bootstrap. If you find Bootstrap too heavy for your projects and would prefer something lighter with workflow tools, then give Web Starter Kit a try.


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Slush: Streaming Scaffolds

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If you've been won over by Gulp, the streaming build system, then you've probably been wondering about scaffolding.

Slush (GitHub: klei / slush, npm: slush) takes Gulp's streaming build concept and applies it to scaffolds, making it a Gulp-friendly Yeoman competitor.

The author, Joakim Bengtson, notes that it may take a while for the registry of available generators to update, so until then you can use the slushgenerator tag on npm.

Slush itself is fairly simple -- it's basically an interface for finding and installing generators. Like Gulp, it's based on liftoff, the command-line tool authoring module.